July 24, 2018




RAF Bombed Hamburg:  At approximately midnight, RAF bombers began the bombing assault on Hamburg, code-named, Operation Gomorrah.  The first night bombing lasted an hour, and the Operation would continue for 8 days, and 7 nights. RAF losses to aircraft were very low, due to the confusion caused to German radar systems; the RAF introduced a new radar countermeasure called "chaff", which consisted of very small tin pieces of aluminum, metallized glass fibre or plastic, released from aircraft. The substance, which appeared as clusters of primary targets, interfered with radar screens in the form of creating multiple returns.  At the same time, RAF pathfinders, which normally would maintain radio silence, were able to freely engage in radio communications with bomber forces.


Russian troops entered Majdanek Concentation Camp, the first to be liberated by the allies.  As Soviet forces rapidly approached Lublin, the Nazis hastily evacuated the camp, forcing 1,000 inmates to march to Auschwitz (only half arrived alive).  The Nazi staff succeeded in only partially destroying the crematoria before the Soviet troops arrived on July 24, 1944.  Over 360,000 inmates were murdered (Jews and non-Jews).   After the capture of the camp by the Soviet Army, the NKVD retained the ready-made facility as a prison for Polish soldiers of the Armia Krajowa (AK, the Home Army resistance) who were loyal to the legitimate Polish Government-in-Exile and the Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (National Armed Forces) who also opposed  both German and Soviet occupation. The NKVD like the SS before them used the same facilities to imprison and torture Polish patriots.  (note: The 2005 research by historian Tomasz Kranz, Head of Scientific Department at Majdanek Museum, estimated that there were 79,000 victims, 59,000 of whom were Jewish.)

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